RE: Equipment damage from over - downhauling?
No, you risk breaking downhaul lines, mostly!
I've seen some mast tips go out through the top of the sail (long ago, it even happened to me) but those were rare cases and mostly old sails with lots of wear on the top webbing that goes over the mast.
SO, until you have the looseness in the leech extending all the way in to the mast, and the sail is as flat as a sheet of plywood, I don't think you have much to worry about.
There was a photo out once that showed how much you can really bend a mast, and the mast in the photo was almost a complete circle.
No worries, and the sail will be totally "gutless" before you do any damage.
Hope this helps,